In December of 2012, I bit the bullet and picked up a new Suunto Core watch, which I found discounted on eBay, so I jumped on it. These watches retail for $300, and even with a discount (I paid $240 total), it was still not an inexpensive purchase (at least in my opinion). Of course, once it showed up at my house, I did an unboxing video on it, which has been one of my most watched videos… Since doing this initial video, I have had a number of emails and comments about this watch, so I figured that now, after my first year, would be a good time to do a follow-up on it…
Actually though, what has really prompted me to go ahead and work on this article is because it is now time for me to change the battery in the watch. During my Thanksgiving hike, the low battery indicator popped up on the screen, and since then I have been trying to wait it out to see if the watch will just die. So far, it has not, however, on that hike, I did notice that the buttons/functions were starting to act crazy. I feel like this was due to the low battery, and the fact that the temperatures were around freezing. I have another hike coming up very soon, so I figured I had better just go ahead and change the battery.
On the topic of batteries though, the listed anticipated life expectancy of a battery in the Suunto Core is around 1 year. For me, this has proven true… maybe even a little over, but as I said, it started acting funky on me once the low battery indicator came on…
A few months after purchasing the watch, I picked up a “replacement battery kit which at the time of purchase was labeled for use with the Core, and the Vector. The kit included a CR2032 battery, another back cover with an O-ring, and another piece that looks like a contact point for the battery. However, once it showed up, the package was labeled for use with a Moquito watch, and sure enough, the only useable parts for the Core in the kit was the battery… (so, if anyone has a Moquito watch, let me know and I can drop these spare parts in the mail for ya!)
Anyway, over the last year, this has been my everyday wear watch. There have been a very few number of days in which I did not wear it, and that was because sometimes I just wake up later than normal, and am in more of a hurry than usual and just forget it… like my phone sometimes. To be fair though, I don’t wear it while actually at work (I work in surgery, so no watches allowed), although, I do wear it at all other times.
I have subjected this watch to all the normal abuse that a watch will generally take (at least once the “newness” wore off). I have banged it against door facings, walls, metal tables, rocks, trees, etc… I have worn it while washing dishes, washing my hands, swimming, and in the rain while hiking. I have worn the watch in temperatures from 20 F (or a little less) to just over 100 F! In short, this watch has now been exposed to all the conditions that I will generally wear it in, and it is doing fine, for the most part…
The only time that I have found that it does not function as expected (other than when the battery is about dead, obviously) is in cold conditions. This watch will measure a temperature reading, however, since I don’t want to know the temperature of my arm, at night I will take the watch off and lay it beside me (while out backpacking). This way I know where the watch is, and it will display the actual, ambient temperature. However, what I have found is that once the temps drop to around freezing, the back light on the watch will stop working, and will not work again until I warm the watch up… This is disappointing to me, especially for such an expensive watch. (I must say that I never experienced this issue with the less expensive High Gear Axio Max I had before the Core.)
Other than this, everything that I bought this watch for has worked as well as expected, and I have been happy with it.
One of my favorite features on the Core is that I can lock the screen. Sometimes while hiking, the buttons will accidentally get pushed, and on my other watch when this happened, when I looked at my screen, it would be on a different screen than what I left it on. So I would have to stop, then cycle through all the screens until I got back to the one I wanted. Not with the Core though. When hiking, I will set the screen to the Alto reading screen, which displays my altitude and the time, and then I lock it. Then, every time I look at the watch from there on out, it tells me what I want to know, without a doubt!
Another feature that I like about the Core is that I can also lock the watch to read pressure changes as either altimeter readings, or barometric pressure readings, but not both. With my other watch, I would get to camp and see that my altimeter was correct, however, as morning came along, I would wake up and find my elevation had changed. What happened is that as the air pressure continued to change, the watch would read it as a change in elevation. With the Core though, I can set the profile to altimeter, and unless there is a rapid change in air pressure, the reading will stay the same. So, when I get to camp and go to sleep at 5,000 feet, despite the air pressure changes throughout the night, when I wake up in the morning, my watch will still display 5,000 feet. Then, once I start hiking, those numbers will change.
These are the two features that really drew me to this watch, as well as the quality that is (usually) associated with Suunto, although, considering the back light does stop working in cold temps, that is a bit of a let down. But, I cannot do anything about this fact, and since everything else about the watch seems to work as well as I had hoped, (at this point)I plan to keep it until it just doesn’t work anymore.
So, to run it down, here are some of the pro’s & cons, as far as I am concerned:
- Ability to lock the screen
- Ability to lock the reading for either the altitude, or the barometer
- Reliable (so far)
- Consistent readings (although, it does help to remember to set it before starting)
- Easy to read display
- Durable so far
- Tough crystal
- Easy to navigate
- Large, easy to find/use buttons
- Backlight stops working in cold temperatures
- Battery life is only about a year (at least the batteries are inexpensive though!)
- Black paint is wearing off the top of the bezel
- The features function incorrectly in cold temps with a low battery
So, I hope this helps to answer some of the questions that some may have about this watch. If anyone has any more questions, feel free to post them below and I will do my best to answer them.
Disclaimer: I paid for this watch with my own money, although, it was at a discounted price which I found on eBay. I am not affiliated with Suunto, and have no obligation to write about this watch. The statement’s within this article are of my own opinion, after having used the watch over the last year.